By Robin Long from The Balanced Life
Years ago, I fell in love with Pilates because of the profound impact it had on my body and my life as a whole.
Within a few days, I felt better. Within a few weeks my aches and pains disappeared. Within a few months I had begun re-shaping my body, discovering new muscles and noticing significant changes in my thoughts, anxiety levels, confidence, and overall happiness.
The Pilates Method was created by Joseph Pilates many years ago. He opened his first official studio in the 1920s in New York and was way ahead of his time. I love seeing how his vision and beliefs continue to ring true for myself and the women I work with each day.
While Pilates is known for helping you to build strength, tone up, and reshape your body – it also teaches you how to:
- undo years of poor posture
- counteract the stress of daily living
- breathe deeply and effectively
- calm your mind
- increase your energy
- restore and maintain good health
When I tell people I teach Pilates for a living, I get a lot of interesting reactions. The most common of which sound something like, “Ooh I could never do that, I’m not flexible at all,” or “Oh cool – I love yoga!”
To this day, people who know me very well still refer to me as a yoga teacher. I don’t blame them though. There are a lot of misconceptions about the Pilates method, so I thought it would be helpful to clear some of those up today.
Common Misconceptions About Pilates:
You have to be flexible to do Pilates.
You do not need to be flexible in order to do Pilates. And in fact, if you’re not feeling flexible or mobile in your body then you should definitely add Pilates into your routine! Pilates can be modified to suit a variety of flexibility levels so no matter where you’re at right now, you can do Pilates.
Pilates is easy.
This is typically said before one has actually tried Pilates, or by someone who is doing Pilates incorrectly. Nothing about Pilates is easy. It can be gentle, it is low-impact, it is restorative…but it is not easy! Pilates requires a complete coordination of mind and body, and teaches you to engage your muscles with a new level of precision and control. It makes you work and it makes you think!
You need fancy equipment to do Pilates.
If you peek into a Pilates studio you’ll see lots of big, fancy equipment – but you don’t need equipment or access to equipment in order to get started. Pilates can be done on equipment or on the mat. Both are great options and both bring fantastic results.
Pilates is like yoga.
Pilates and yoga appear similar because they can be done on a mat and are considered mind/body forms of exercise. But they are quite different. Yoga is a tradition that comes out of India with deep spiritual roots and includes a series of poses combined with spirituality and deep breathing.
The Pilates Method was developed by Joseph Pilates as a form of total body conditioning designed to bring about health by undoing damage on the body from years of stress and immobility – while also increasing strength, restoring good posture, and invigorating the spirit through intentional movement, coordination, and control. Pilates moves a little faster than yoga and does not stem from a spiritual tradition.
Pilates is for women.
Pilates is good for everyone, not just women! Here at The Balanced Life we create community for women to come together and support one another on our Pilates journeys, but Pilates was developed by a man and is an effective form of exercise for all people. Many of our members’ husbands/brothers/sons/dads join in and are grateful for the way it helps them to build strength, improve mobility, increase their energy, and reduce stress.
Robin Long is founder + CEO of The Balanced Life, providing workouts and resources for busy women who struggle to find time to exercise, desperately want to love their bodies again, and are looking for an exercise plan that will work for the long-haul. She is also passionate about helping women transform their relationship with exercise and healthy living by choosing “grace over guilt” and finding a balance that feels like FREEDOM. Connect with her at https://thebalancedlifeonline.com